Colour Monster

We devised a project to help the children explore their internal emotional landscape using The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas as the narrative support. We devised a series of art activities to support the themes and subject matter contained within the book and to support the participants to explore and expand for themselves.


Show Reels

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My current animation show-reel can be found here.

 

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My current storyboard show-reel can be found here.

 

More samples of my work can be found at the production blog for my short film Sound Holds the Distance Travelled here.

Sound Holds the Distance Travelled

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Sound Holds the Distance Travelled

‘The Melancholic Wife loved to dance…..she danced to cope with the dark and troubled thoughts that lived in her mind’. Take a journey through the inner world of the Melancholic Wife as she struggles against the manifestations of her own personal darkness. Adapted from an original short comic story, this film attempts to convey the everyday, personal glory we carry through the unromantic walls of our real lives. And portray the power of self expression as a means to thrive, grow and survive.

Directed and Animated by Gareth Gowran

Adapted by Sadhbh Lawlor and Gareth Gowran

From the original comic Splitting Borders presents ‘The Melancholic Wife and her Perpetrating Husband Episode 5’

Narration by Barry Barnes

Sound Design by Tony Kiernan at Moynihan Russell

 

Technical Specifications

Year of Production 2018

Format 1920 x 1080 HD

Black and White

Duration 03:24

Language English Narration

Produced in Ireland

 

Trailer coming soon!

A production process blog can be found here.

Sound Holds the Distance Travelled began production as part of the BA(Hons) Animation course at Colaiste Dhulaigh, Ireland in conjunction with The University of Wolverhampton, UK.

Animation Production Diary – Let there be light

Scene Twenty-Seven pencil test without and with background.
Sometimes I think I don’t like myself. A short walk cycle? Okay. Turning on a light switch? Okay. All from a birds-eye view? Sheesh. Capturing the angle was very challenging, the original pencils were close but felt slightly off so I needed to transform the frames digitally with skew and perspective. 
But it felt right, having a distance at the end, we have observed and we must not forget that we are observers of an autonomous life. The Melancholic Wife is in her power, she does not need us. 
I asked Sadhbh to make two versions of the background, one with the light turned on, one without. There is a prop to be added as well, a notebook and pen that sit on the table. A gentle zoom into the Melancholic Wife and the notebook will be added in tandem with a fade up to white. Also shadows, I do think I have something against myself!
Scene Twenty-Seven digital inks without and with background.

Animation Production Diary – Of magic dust and doors

Having reached apotheosis through a conquering of the dark the Melancholic Wife is ready to return to the ‘unromantic walls of her real life’. But first she’ll need a doorway and one dutifully manifests from the dissipating energies of her embracing and dancing with the light. The main task of these two scenes was an exercise in special effects animation. The light effects that create the door and the few small sparkles that enter through it in the following scene were all animated directly in Photoshop, no pencilling involved this time. The animation of the door itself appearing will be done using masks in After Effects as will the animation of the door opening, using the corner pin tool.

Scene Twenty-Three digital inks.
Scene Twenty-Four digital inks and pencil shaded background.
The rendering of the background of Scene Twenty-Four was created by Sadhbh Lawlor over an A3 printed copy of the original inks. Sadhbh has a very strong ability in achieving tonal depth with pencilling and I wanted to pursue this style to create a strong contrast with the simple backgrounds of the dream space. The shading also mirrors the shading of the claws which grab the Melancholic Wife, indicating that though they are imagined, they draw their strength from real experiences.

Animation Production Diary – Grace and Poise

The Melancholic Wife has drawn the white light to herself with the aid of her ghost and now comes the first moment of exploration and play. She perceives the boundaries of her form in a new way, we see her twisting her hand, feeling the glow that surrounds her and its flow through the space she inhabits. We follow the arc of her rising hand until it meets its twin. There the gathering energy pushes them apart and she has to find the determination to control the power within her.

Pencil test.
Final inks.
This scene was heavily influenced by the desire to capture graceful balletic movement, and in part inspired by early reference like the short film Ballet Rotoscope by Masahiko Sato and Euphrates.

Professional Development – Skills Audit and SWOT Analysis

The Skills Audit and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis represented another opportunity to utilise the visual identity elements created for the logo and business card. Fot the Skills Audit I decided on going with the pencil motif as a straight comparison to a bar graph. For me it also evokes that sense of pencils falling out of a box. I broke the audit down onto technical / software skills and soft skills gleaned and developed through my years of different creative employment. For the skills that defy a rating scale I included them at the bottom as scribbles to help convey the sometimes informal nature of these elements.

For the SWOT I thought of the pen motif and the line coming off as branches into each element of the analysis, vibrant green for strengths, brown for weaknesses, buds for opportunities and thorns for threats. What became clear is that my experience is a tremendous asset to me in terms of creative confidence but that my lack of particular experience in the animation field will be something to stay aware of, especially around technical know how considerations.

Animation Production Diary – Slow it down Scene Eighteen

Scene Eighteen represents something of a breath. There are a sequence of cuts before it between short scenes communicating lots of information and the scenes after it rise up again towards the crescendo of the final dance. So it’s a chance to breath, take a metaphorical pause and have a slow moment to contrast with the quick. The Melancholic Wife’s arms raise steadily, opening up to her power, opening up to the audience.

Pencil test alongside digital inks.
Animation placed in background. Further animation on the background including the spotlight drawing in, focusing on MW and emanating in a glow around her and a ghost clip will be added in compositing.

Professional Development – Business Card

The finalised designs for the front and back of my business card. The front is my logo without the font elements communicating something of my personality. the back holds the information matter and I decided to go for a very strong graphic approach as a contrast to the illustrative dominance of the front. This is an attempt to convey something of the breadth of my experience. I also felt strongly about including the drawing utensils of pen and pencils in some way to give a nod to the fact that I still use these tools as part of my process on a daily basis.

Animation Production Diary – What’s the collective noun for a group of ghosts?

The ghosts, as I call them, first appear in scene seven to correspond with the line; ‘…when she thought about the teenager she had been’. They represent an attempt to express a younger possible self, the adult looking back at herself with compassion, and as such a gateway to possible contentment. One of the ghosts will join the Melancholic Wife in the darkness in scene eleven as a symbol of the connection to this gateway out of the blackness so it felt important to keep them feeling light and unburdened by the weight of gravity. They needed to be instilled with a sense of carefree joy to contest the heavy, laden aspect of the dark thoughts.

 
My first ghost pencil test with subsequent digital inks.

A second spinning ghost, the pencil test for this was drawn as thumbnails in an A5 notebook as seen below with the next ghost.
 
An example of the pencil thumbnails for the ghosts along with an inked test of a ghost rising with a slight turn then settling.
All of these ghosts were combined for scene seven with the timings shifted slightly on the same actions to differentiate, the ghost rising animation was re-used the most because of it’s various, differing actions and longer length.
The finished scene with layers of ghosts added in. I changed the opacity on a downward scale from the front to the back of the scene.

Animation Production Diary – Short but nevertheless important

There are a few scenes dotted through the animatic that could be described as very short and scenes five and six would fall under that category, comprising a total of three seconds all together. Scene five is a simple step into the ‘ghost room’ and scene six follows it up with a short glance up from our protagonist as she spots the ghosts.

While short they are important, scene six bridges the story from the frantic run that preceded it to the more serene atmosphere of the ‘ghost room’. I felt it important to have her step even once, rather than just have a more easily completed hold, to represent the dissipation of energy from the mad dash.

One small step for the Melancholic Wife…

The glance upwards then has to communicate an emotional shift, I wanted to portray a graceful arc to her movement and emphasise the flow of her hair to preface the floating light tone of the dancing ghosts who are about to appear on screen. I learned the importance here of not underestimating any scene no matter the length and its potential to keep a story continuum on track.

This scene is also the first and only real close-up of the character so I really wanted to communicate her poise and character as much as possible.

Professional Development Logos

The final version of my designed logo, trying to communicate on both a strong graphic front with the block colour pen and an illustrative front with the line-work portrait. The integration of pen and portrait came from research into Saul Bass design and his imaginative and clear use of graphic elements interacting with one another in unusual ways.

Animation Production Diary – Setting the Stage

In scene twelve our protagonist has just been swallowed wholly by the blackness and wakes to find herself under the harsh glare of a spotlight. The scene begins with us looking straight down on her as the spotlight comes on, it then tilts to bring her closer to us almost like serving her up on a plate.

Sound Holds the Distance Travelled – Storyboards

Sound Holds the Distance Travelled is the title of the short animated film I’m creating in collaboration with writer and artist Sadhbh Lawlor as part of my BA (Hons) Animation studies at Colaiste Dhulaigh. It is a three minute film based on Episode Five of the Melancholic Wife and her Perpetrating Husband comic series that we co-created.

Here is a link to the animatic for the film and the storyboards are displayed below.

 

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Sequence One

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Sequence Two

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Sequence Three

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Sequence Four

 

The production process blog can be found here.